It all started innocently enough. 

With a joke. Well, the joke isn't so innocent. But it made me recall something. 

But, first, the humor . . . 

Cab driver: “There’s something that I’ve been wanting to ask, but I don’t want to offend you.”

Nun: “I'm sure that there's nothing you could say, or ask, that I would find offensive."

"Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me."

Nun responds: "Well, let's see what we can do about that: #1, you have to be single and #2, you must be Catholic."

The cab driver is very excited and says, "Yes, I'm single. And, I’m Catholic!"

"OK," the nun says. "Pull into the next alley."

The nun fulfills his fantasy; with a kiss that would make a hooker blush.

But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying.

"My dear child," says the nun, "why are you crying?"

"Forgive me but I've sinned. I lied and I must confess, I'm married and I'm Jewish."

The nun says, "That's OK. My name is Kevin and I'm going to a Halloween party."


Now, for the story. 

It's about my cousin Stashu Vaselko Wronski. "Stuvash" is his nickname. He drives a taxi in New York City. He is what, in that trade anyhow, is known as a professional. As you get to know him in this little homage you'll see what I mean.

That's him in the photo, alright. But, he didn't have that aforementioned encounter with the nun. Not that I know of, anyway. 

He drives a 1965 Checker. Pristine condition, even though it takes a beating in the mean streets. He runs his business like a limo service. You have to book ahead. Big deal, huh? Yes, I should say. At $100 just to get into the cab. $5 bucks per quarter mile after that. You have to be somebody to book his rig. Or, somebody who wants to be somebody.

He's had his encounters, nevertheless. The back seat of his taxi cab is rather large. His vehicle of choice is the venerable Checker. It was purpose built to be a taxicab. Big and square. Lots of passenger room. Easy to get in and out. And, out of production since 1982. Its design is similar to that of cars in the late 1940s. Beefy and bulletproof. Heavy body over frame arrangement. Soft suspension. Slow brakes. Practical. Solid. Alas, now, old fashioned. 

But, people of a certain generation wax nostalgic for those old behemoths. That's where Stuvash comes in. 

How it all started is a modern miracle. 

According to Cousin Stuvash, he had a visitor. Not the BVM. THE Visitor. The Son Himself! A blessing, if you will. For him, and his taxi. Jesus Christ! No, really: Jesus Christ!

Needless to say, no charge for the Savior of Mankind. Thank you, Jesus! You've already paid enough.

Soon after that he had fares from several who, you might say, were bone fide friends of Our Lord.

Not only a big tipper; but, you should see what she left under the seat. He had no idea a solid gold bullion bar weighed so much.

Of course, things can be relied upon to change. 

His career developed quickly. Many local dignitaries were early adopters.

Per Stuvash. No. That is not a squirrel pelt on top of the Trumpmeister's keppe.

Even the titular "Lord of the Bronx", his nibs Baron Ambrosia, booked for an entire evening for a Bronx Borough Pub Crawl. More like a Pernil Prowl. Stopping unexpectedly more than once for an impromptu game of Catch the Cuchifrito with some local homeboys.

Big Al was a regular for 30 Rock drop-off and pick-up. The guy had a side gig selling weather paraphernalia. And, yes, he is always perky. "Can't get enough."And, speaking of 30 Rock . . . Saturday evenings were reliably sure to catch some interesting fares.

She's dispensing God's JUSTICE right here on earth.

Reliably cranked and wired. 

He made all the party stops.

Everyone's favorite heart throb. 

He had a standing order most mornings to pick up Stephen Colbert at the Port Authority when he comes to NYC in the wee hours from his New Jersey abode. "What a Diva! Always travels with an entourage: Manicurist. Assistant to read the newspaper. Some big guy who looks like a trained attack dog. And, always munching on a breakfast burrito. Talks with his mouth full."

Oh, yah! They picked the right guy to sell pistachios. What a nut!"

Visiting glitterati would book way ahead. 

"I took Ms. Hilton to . . . where else? . . . to the Hilton." Laughed Cousin Stuvash. (Nice "headlights!" Yes?) Woof!

"The guy said he was Robert Goulet. Sure sounded like him. Ouch!"

If you knew where she wanted to go. Downtown. Way down. Oy! Slumming. Cute as can be, though.

I don't know if the Funny F*cker in the back is still her fan. Stu is. Obviously! Mini Klieg lights? Really? 

Anyway, they both like the sweeties. Even though that chatty one has more of an Anglo-centric taste. 

By the way. You know, don't you? Twinkies are back!

That old Checker sometimes would go into TaxiCabTimeTravel mode. Stuvash said it was his "Purgatory", soul cleansing karma to prepare a sinner to be worthy to hang with JC in the afterlife. 

Precious Cargo.

Two peas in a pod. They talked, and talked. Yes, he WAS talking to him.

He lives!

Got milk!

"He said, 'Whatever' a whole lot."

Sought after by the euro-trash, world class assholes, and preening-prancy-prancersons.

The flowers were for Stuvash. QUELLE SURPRISE! But, he demurred. 

Not really all that interesting, according to Cousin Stuvash.

SHE was NOT amused. Probably will be seen in that getup soon, however. Stuvash was a muse to many. Also, amusing. To some.

Lewis Black is really a rather colorful fellow. Off stage, anyhow. 

The job did present some interesting ironies every now and then. He didn't care for the decor.

That suggestion pissed him off.  He said he didn't want a pillow to sit on. 

Stuvash, he took more than his share of sh*t. 

That aspiring funny girl is seen here giving Stuvash her best estimate of the size of his Little Stuvash. 

B-I-T-C-H! "Talk to the hand, girlie."

Those two! Don't even let's get into that.   

Live and let live. But, that philosophy can get you into some awkward situations.

Cousin is not into politics. But, he couldn't help a little show of national Polish pride for Mr. V. Putinski. And, Pup.

He is the darling of the fashionistocracy. He never disappoints. They got a "fabulous" ride. "Amazing!!!" "Just to die for." 

And, lot's of ideas to take back to the atelier. He was, after all, quite a-muse-ing. (Next Spring, look for Exotic-Birds-in-Hawaii motifs. Featured in Vogue, and on the runway.)

He upon occasion picked up rides going to the bizarro part of town.

They say art imitates life. But, as Stuvash would sometimes say, "Are you kidding me?"  But, Stuvash comes prepared. 

Things aren't always what they appear to be. Going to a performance, already in makeup? In this theater town, if might be. 

Or . . . worst! 

He made quite an impression. Quoting Beelzebub with his blistering breath verbatim, that doyen of the deepest dark, that ruler and dean of the most dastardly cohorts of depravity, that prince of all that blasphemes the every smallest good thing . . . 

This is what he said: 

"You want to know what hell is? I'll tell you, boy!" 

"Hell is a place where NOBODY knows your name, or gives a good f**k anyway. And, where EVERYBODY you see has YOUR FACE." 

"Holy Cow!" Stuvash blurted out. 

And then this capper comes from Satan's hot lips, "That's right, Sonny. And, that's on a GOOD day!"

"Gee wiz!" murmured dear Cousin.

"And . . . Now YOU belong to ME!!!" demanded Satan with all the haughty confidence only such a damnable deceiver could muster.

Stuvash is anything if not on his toes.  And, not to be trifled or messed with. 

He yelled right back, "Get out of my cab you damned melodramatic red mother f**ker!!! I have a choice where my soul's concerned. Now get!!! 

"TIPSCH PSA CREF HOLETTA, YASNI PIORUN CHAZ. GODDAM SONOFABITCH!!!" (That there is an old world, full blooded expletive which is in fact so rude no one fluent in the Polish tongue even knows what it means.)

Woof! And . . . Whew! DOG! 

And . . . Woof!!! 

Serendipitously, these three lovelies were off to a small private party at the St. Regis, and this was Stuvash's last fare at the end of his shift. He tagged along. Came home with a smile that lasted for days.

When it rains, it pours. 

Stuvash is anything, if not Polish. Like folks of every descent he embodies some — really all(!) in his case  of the stereotypical traits of his lineage. He's got a chronic case of round shoulders. And, a flat forehead. Turns out the explanation is all too obvious. When you ask Cousin a question, he invariably shrugs his shoulders. When you tell him the answer, he reliably will slap his forehead. Like the Grand Canyon, a river flows and, over time, things set in.

Also, he's so typical in his thinking. He figures if he takes three of those little blue pills, he's good for 12 hours before any need to call for medical assistance. Maybe even 13 hours. Or, so.

Then there's always the down side. Not without its anxious moments. BEEP! BEEP!

Of all the dames, in of all towns, she had to get into his cab. She was most noticeably in a class by herself. Woof! And . . . Woof!


 Well, that's enough for one night. 

If you see Stuvash driving by, flag him down. Don't bother to mention me. You won't get any better. Like I said, he's a professional. Consistent top shelf service only. 

Here's something Cousin Stashu V. wanted to share with you all . . .

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